UA to Offer First Start-to-Finish Online Bachelor's Degree

Starting this fall, the University of Arkansas will offer its first start-to-finish online bachelor's degree program.

The first degree offered will be a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Students will have the opportunity to begin the degree as freshman and complete all four years, and 120 credit hours, online. The coursework will follow the traditional pattern of 15-week semesters in the fall and spring, and optional summer classes. Online students will also have the opportunity to take self-paced online courses to accelerate the program.

The program will also be open to students who have an associate's degree in business, or those near completion of their business degree.

"An online course of study makes it possible for working professionals, entrepreneurs and students who have family, work and other responsibilities that prevent them from studying on campus to complete a degree from Walton College — a nationally ranked, internationally accredited college of business," Eli Jones, Walton College dean, said in a news release.

This online offering is the latest of 29 degree, licensure and certificate programs offered completely or primarily online through the UA Global Campus.

"This growth — especially in online bachelor's degree programs — is in line with the university's goals to meet students' needs and with the state's efforts to double the number of citizens who hold bachelor's degrees by 2025," Javier A. Reyes, vice provost for distance education at the university, said in the release.

Course content and outcome goals are set by UA faculty and UA Global Campus instructional designers. 

UA System's eVersity

In March, the UA System's Board of Trustees approved an online university, eVersity, to target adult students.

The UA System hopes to have students enrolling into eVersity by summer 2015. In the beginning, the programs will be offered in partnership with UA System campuses while eVersity seeks accreditation.

The online university is meant to tap into a group of adult learners that right now turn to for-profit online institutions for education needs. More than 80 out-of-state institutions, including several for-profits, offer degree programs in Arkansas, according to the Department of Higher Education.

System officials hope eVersity will complement its traditional institutions.

Michael Moore, the UA System's vice president for academic affairs, said eVersity will focus on degree areas that meet workforce needs in Arkansas. Moore was hired in January to oversee the development of the eVersity.

"This is about supporting economic development in broad areas," he told Arkansas Business in April. "It will have things like information technology, general business degrees; we'll be focusing on things like entrepreneurship and health-related degrees."